Oldest WSOP dealer killed — my friend (Caro blog)

Poker1.com default content graphicEntry #35 (2013-06-22)

Dick Turnbull links the lives of the legendary poker champion Doyle Brunson and me. And that link has nothing to do with poker. It happened decades before I met Doyle.

But I’ll get to that in a minute. Right now the important and terrible truth is that Dick is dead. He died crossing a street in Las Vegas, while there to deal once more at the World Series of Poker. Killed by a car.


Dick Turnbull (right) with Mike Caro in front of the main house at Mike’s Ozarks hermitage, September, 2011. Dick’s shirt reads, “Girls love bad boys.”

According to a Las Vegas Sun article, he was walking across Rainbow Boulevard Thursday night (2013-06-20) and not in a crosswalk when he was struck. He was declared dead at University Medical Center. He had been the oldest dealer at the World Series of Poker.

(I’ve included links to several stories, including that one, at the bottom of this entry.)

Connections to Doyle, me, and my mother

My memories of Dick go way, way back. Back to when I was still in high school. He was an intellectual, a fact probably not known by most poker players accepting the cards he delivered or by his fellow dealers. He kept his past glories quiet. I met him when he was a leadership trainer for Great Books discussions groups in the early 1960s. I was one among the discussion leaders he trained.

Other events bound us throughout life. He survived a car crash, where my mother died at the scene. A young woman was at the wheel, in route to a Great Books meeting, when the three were struck broadside by a drunk driver. Dick told me that Mom died quickly and at peace.

The most curious coincidence in our intertwined lives involves Doyle Brunson. I met Doyle in 1977 during the planning of his soon-to-be poker bible, Super/System — A Course in Power Poker,” to which I contributed two chapters. At the time, neither Doyle nor I realized that we had Dick Turnbull as a common link in our pre-poker pasts.

Not to be

You see, Doyle’s life could have been quite different from that as a poker superstar. He could have been a professional basketball star, instead — continuing with his acclaimed college hoops prowess.

But that was not to be, because an industrial accident shattered Doyle’s leg. Who witnessed that tragedy and comforted Doyle while he lay in painful shock? Richard Turnbull.

Small world. And one that will be a bit emptier without Dick.

In the fall of 2011, Dick visited my Ozarks hermitage and stayed in the cabin next to my house for several weeks. I taught him new stuff about the Internet, returning the favor from almost 50 years earlier when he’d taught me lifelong lessons through his quick wit and logical reasoning. I even coaxed him into riding an ATV and hiking briskly along my miles of steep paths through the forest.

Those were young activities. But he was only 84 then. Time stopped for him at 86. — MC

Some related links:

At CardPlayer.com

At Fox5Vegas.com

At LasVegasSun.com

At 8newsnow.com

At KTNV.com

At Covers.com

Bluff magazine in 2012

Published by

Mike Caro

Visit Mike on   → Twitter   ♠ OR ♠    → FaceBook

Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.


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  1. Dear Mr. Caro,

    I can offer nothing to ease your sorrow. You alone see and feel through your eyes. I visited this site in last x months after starting your section in SS2. I hit the Threshold of Misery and stopped there and still have to go back and finish the chapter. I have always, from a distance, liked you and thought you one of the few Real Deals in Poker. I knew instantly what you were talking about and it had nothing to do with poker. I realized that you are brilliant. There was someone handling all the departments here and I looked forward to your return. “Life is what happens when you are busy making plans” is, as you probably know, a line from one of John Lennons songs and it seems so true. Raraely do events play out as one thinks, or would like, or may fantasize or dream. Pain, sorrow and suffering are things we all have to experience. Rich or Poor, Popular or Shunned that is the way. Of course, there is much more and as you mentioned I believe. many have thanked you for tthe referenced concept alone. I have miised a lot in missing your writings, although I found something from 1984 here to go with SS2 and another book. So I thank you also. I know you are pulling through, and though it isn’t much, I am rooting for you. I also realiized just now that you are someone that may understand some things that sound, perhaps, strange to others. I don’t know. I am glad you are back. The world is that much better becauae you are here.
    Will Baldwin

    1. Hi, Will —

      Thanks for posting your first comment and joining our Poker1 family.

      I greatly appreciate your supportive and thoughtful comments. Thank you for taking the time to write them.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

  2. Orissia on behalf of all the Road Dealers we extend our consolations to you and your family..he was looking forward to getting home to Reno and seeing lil Kya also by the by…Sure will not be the same dealing at GSR sans your Father. I hope they do a charity/memorial event for him,we done a collection here in the break room.He is one of the good men,liked by all,well maybe a few players cussed him, hahah . God bless u and yr family Orissia. Peace, bigN.Y. for the Road Crew.

  3. Hi Mike, this is Orisia, we met a long time ago and you had a talking car and we went to dinner together. I just wanted to thank you for the nice things you have written for my dad. He will me so missed and he would have been surprised by how many lives he touched. Thanks again.

    1. Orisia, I just want you to know that your dad’s visit with me a year and a half ago was one of the grandest moments of my life. He cared about you and loved you deeply, as you know. My heart is with you and your family.

      I have several photos of that visit, as well as a very short video clip. I can email them to you, if you’d like. Just contact me privately at m i k e a t c a r o . c o m (address shown that way to discourage automated web crawlers from capturing it). Take care.

  4. sorry for yr friend mike, i worked with him 4-5 times a yr for awhile and all that did also will miss him. terrible that RTC lets people walk to the crosswalk , a 2 min walk for a youthful person, more foe elders. stupid bus stop shd be at a safe corner. tempts people to cross. a shame, he had a lot of good hands left in him. a pal.

  5. So sorry for your loss. The pain will ease in time and you will always have the wonderful memories of a man who touched your very soul.

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